My ALLi author guest this episode is Jess Lohmann, an author who draws attention to animal rights through her books for young adults. Also, for adults, she focuses her business on ethical marketing. Jess managed to take an uninspiring marketing career and change it to one that reflects her values.
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Inspirational Indie Author Interview: Jess Lohmann. About the Author
Jess Lohmann envisions a kind, healthy and abundant world for all life on Earth. After receiving her BBA degree in Marketing at the University of South Carolina, she led teams in the advertising, IT and travel sectors in the USA and Germany where she currently resides. This experience shaped her views about how marketing is highly responsible for overconsumption and harm done to our environment. In 2018, she founded Ethical Brand Marketing to help creatives, social entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations design non-manipulative marketing strategies which help consumers make a more conscious choice. Jess wrote and self-published her first book on April 24, 2019: International Day for Laboratory Animals which is now available in German, Polish and Italian and was shortlisted for the Lush Prize 2022 in the category of ‘Public Awareness'. Lily Bowers and the Uninvited Guest, a middle-grade fantasy and the first of a series, addresses the heavy topic of animal testing in a light way to inspire young souls to become a much-needed voice for laboratory animals. Not only enjoyed by preteens, Lily Bowers also warms the hearts of adults of all ages. She not only markets and writes for nature and the animals, she also speaks for them as a voice talent and narrator for nature documentaries.
About the Host
Howard Lovy has been a journalist for more than 35 years, and now amplifies the voices of independent author-publishers and works with authors as a developmental editor. Find Howard at howardlovy.com, LinkedIn and Twitter.
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Read the Transcripts: Jess Lohmann
Howard Lovy: My guest this episode is Jess Lohmann, an author who draws attention to animal rights through her books for young adults. Also, for adults, she focuses her business on ethical marketing. Jess managed to take an uninspiring marketing career and change it to one that reflects her own values. I'll let Jess Lohmann tell her story.
Jess Lohmann: Hello, I'm Jess Lohmann and I am the author of Lily Bowers and the Uninvited Guest. I'm also a marketing strategist and a voice talent. I work with creatives, so writers, filmmakers, photographers, and graphic designers to try to bring more nature advocacy in this world, to help them find the right clients who are also on the same mission to help protect nature.
I was born and raised in New York, and then the last place I lived in was Atlanta, and then I moved to Germany in 1995 and I've been here ever since.
Howard Lovy: From a young age, books and reading have always been a part of Jess's life.
Jess Lohmann: The main reason why I got into voice acting was because I just loved it when my mom read Dr. Seuss books, and I loved to read Dr. Seuss books to my child, and yeah, I've obviously been reading all my life.
Howard Lovy: Also from a young age, Jess loved animals and went to work for a veterinarian's office as a child.
Jess Lohmann: My love for animals, it was right around the corner, and I was looking for a summer job, and we had to take our dog to the vet and my mom just asked and he was like, actually, yeah, sure, I could use some help. So, that was my first job. I just took care of the animals, I assisted him during surgeries and client appointments, and that was almost like the best job in my life.
It was just, I loved it,
Howard Lovy: Jess thought about going into veterinary medicine, but she found it difficult to take care of animals when they were sick. Instead, she went to college and studied marketing, which is what she did for a living after graduation, before her life took an unexpected turn.
Jess Lohmann: Then I worked for an independent record label in Atlanta, because I went to USC in South Carolina, the University of South Carolina, then a local newspaper, and then I met my ex-husband, and moved to Germany.
He went to Georgia Tech, and we met through mutual friends, and to be honest, it wasn't that much of a culture shock as moving from New York to South Carolina.
Howard Lovy: So, Jess learned the language of her adopted country and began working in the marketing departments for software developers. She did that for 13 years until she decided that she did not like the way her career was going.
Jess Lohmann: In 2013, my daughter was very young, and I was just spending too much time at work, and I got out. I got out of the corporate world, I said, I can't handle this anymore. For one thing, the marketing was really upsetting me because of the manipulation.
My last job, my boss was so upset about our competition, he was actually not very happy that I befriended the other marketing director of our direct competition. Like for me, competition is a good thing and especially for me and my colleagues who are on a mission to do something in this world, do something that contributes to the sustainable development goals, or is trying to make this world a better place in whatever way they're doing it. We have to work together, and so I collaborate instead of thinking that these people are my competition.
I don't try to beat the competition. I don't try to win over clients and, oh gosh, we could talk all day about urgency and scarcity tactics, the manipulation tactics, FOMO, fear of missing out, all of that just instils fear and pushes people, persuades people, to buy things that they don't need and sometimes that they don't even want.
And you know, our shopping behaviour is so unhealthy. We don't need anything. We seriously do not need any more stuff.
Howard Lovy: So, she quit her job and started freelancing as voice talent and marketer, but just discovered that to really make an impact, she had to launch her own company.
Jess Lohmann: I started Ethical Brand Marketing and now I'm working on a program to help creatives find their ideal clients who are working, you know, who are supporting regenerative projects for our forests or oceans or agriculture, those kinds of projects. I want to help support and I want to help bring more nature advocacy into this world so that they inspire people to think before they buy.
Howard Lovy: It took a traumatic event, the death of her mother while she was in Africa, for Jess to finally decide to write a book.
Jess Lohmann: I don't know what kind of state I was in. I was in shock. I don't know, it just came to me. I wanted to write a book about that experience, being in shock and grieving and seeing these animals, because she rescued animals for an organization in Florida, and she also worked for the vet, so that's how that started with me. Then my dad died like almost a year later. So, I was thinking about that the whole time, and then my dad died, and I was like, okay, wait a minute.
My focus just kind of shifted and I was like, okay, my book is not going to really inspire many people or the idea, and I wanted to make more of an impact. I wanted to inspire more people and then just to respect animals, and I thought, okay, if I write a series where each book addresses a different animal rights topic, I'll be writing forever, sure, but I figured, okay, who should I write for?
Then I thought, okay, well, preteens, they're at the perfect age where they ask critical questions, they listen, they're still listening to you, and they're also still very, oh I hate to use this word, like impressionable, but they take in the information, they can process it and then build their own ideas about it. They're also very vocal, so they spread the news.
So, I was like, okay, I want to inspire preteens, these young, or old children, I guess, older children, and I wanted to address a topic of animal testing to start out with, because I feel that laboratory animals are so invisible in our society because we feel we have to test on them when this is definitely not the truth.
There's so much that we don't know, there's so much that is hidden from us. Like just crazy experiments that they do, psychological experiments on fruit flies, where they centrifuge them and then let them free after a few hours and if they don't go to a female or if they don't drink, then they're depressed. This makes no sense to me. Taxpayers, we pay for this.
Howard Lovy: How does Jess tackle such a serious topic in a way that is entertaining to children?
Jess Lohmann: Yeah, a fantasy. So, it's actually magical realism. The real parts are some of the animal testing stories and the reasons, but in a very light way. I don't go deep into the scientific part of it. But basically, the protagonist, she's 10 years old and she's, Lily Bowers, and she finds out that she can speak to animals, speak with, communicate with animals. So, she first finds that out because she is met by Aloe. He's a very special character and non-human, and he guides her.
Then Mother Nature comes down and calls upon her to help save her, because Mother Nature is starting to die because we treat animals in such a way that is unspeakable. So, when we do that, then she loses a little bit of her power, and she can't care for nature anymore.
So, there's fantasy mixed in with real life, going to school, a new school, because here in Germany at 10, they start a new school. So, it's like they start middle school, basically, the 10- to 18-year-olds are in one building together. So, that was a big change for her too, and yeah, about friendship and the importance of friendship, and working together to reach a goal because she is called upon to help save mother nature, and that's a big goal that she is scared to do. So, she needs some help from all her friends, her two-legged, her four-legged, her six-hundred-legged friends.
Howard Lovy: So far, the reaction to her book has been positive.
Jess Lohmann: One thing that did happen is that I put the project in wemakechange.org, and that is an organization that connects volunteers with social entrepreneurs.
So, I published my project in their platform, and now my project has been translated in German, Italian, and Polish, and it was shortlisted for the Lush prize last year in the category of public awareness, and the Lush Prize, Lush is a cosmetic brand from the UK, a huge brand, and they are big, huge advocates against animal testing.
So, for the past 20 years, every two years, they have a Lush prize where they give money to organizations and individuals who are working to get rid of animal testing, and I was one of the seven in the list for public awareness and Humane Society International was on that same list.
Howard Lovy: Jess is planning more books in the series.
Jess Lohmann: I did start the second one, and that will address the topic of the animal farm industry, because I'm a vegan, but in a non-invasive, aggressive finger-pointing way, that is very important to me. It has to be positive advocacy and not aggressiveness, because that inspires no one to eat a vegan meal ever.
So, that's very important to me that fellow vegans also are just kind, to remain kind. Sure, we can talk about it, sure we can get angry at what's happening to animals, and we do get angry, but we can't place blame on others. We have to do it in a more effective way.
Howard Lovy: Between her book series focusing on animals and her ethical marketing business, Jess turned an uninspiring marketing career to one that reflects her values. Her advice to other authors who want to do the same thing, it's important to collaborate.
Jess Lohmann: Work with other people, collaborate, figure out how you can collaborate. There are so many different ways, because it's so difficult when you're on a mission to do it alone. It's like impossible. It's definitely impossible. So, if you are on a mission, if you want to write about something and you have a cause, then talk to other people. In the back of my book, I have a list of tips and one tip is, go to these people and read what they're writing about it, influencers who write about animal testing or about cruelty-free cosmetics, or organizations.
I collaborated with Doctors Against Animal Experiments and even designed their truck ad a year and a half ago, and I've accompanied them on different demos and stuff, and read my book. We did a collaboration where all new members got a free copy of my book. So, there are so many different ways you can do this and get other people to also participate in promoting your book and your cause. It's all for the same cause.
So, definitely do not do this alone. You don't have to, and it's so much more effective to do it with other people.